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The Campaigns of Napoleon Hardcover – March 1, 1973
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Eliot Fremont-Smith Books of the Times A massive and absorbing -- one is tempted to say definitive -- account and detailed analysis of the military career of Napoleon....The descriptions of the battles -- all the important ones, and all augmented by superb position maps -- have perhaps never been done with greater clarity.
The New York Review of Books Chandler can hold up his head with the best of them. His prose is as clear as his intellect....his scholarship is excellent...this is a fine book for the historian, the student, and the intelligent reader.
Los Angeles Times Chandler's analysis is so thorough that there is hardly an area untouched.
The New Yorker The book is engrossing, and...amounts to a first-rate general account of Europe in the Napoleonic era....brilliant, unremittingly attentive to detail and sparkling with insights into a man, a nation, and an epoch.
The Boston Globe Writing clearly and vividly, [Chandler] turns dozens of persons besides Napoleon from mere wooden soldiers into three- dimensional characters.
John Barkham Book Week In every way...a pleasure to read...a remarkable work which comes as close to dissecting the ingredients of Napoleon's military genius as any I have read...[it is] that rare combination -- a book impeccable in its expertise, penetrating in its analysis, and attractive in its presentation. No matter how numerous your books on Napoleon, make room for this one.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Few works equal the scope and scholarship of Chandler's The Campaigns of Napoleon...a masterpiece in the truest sense of what military history ought to be.
About the Author
David G. Chandler is Head of the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and a Fellow of both the Royal Historical and the Royal Geographical societies. He is President of the British Commission for Military History and a Vice- President of the Commission International d'Histoire Militaire.
During his researches for The Campaigns of Napoleon, Mr. Chandler made considerable use of primary sources -- including the thirty-two volumes of Correspondence de I'Empereur Napoleon Iier -- and consulted many contemporary memoirs and military commentaries. (This he did with some caution, for such material is often far from reliable.) He also examined many of the most revealing and interesting studies that have been written by soldiers and scholars over the past 145 years, and he incorporated extracts from recently discovered sources in the hope of illuminating still further the well- trodden paths of Napoleonic studies.
The author of a dozen works on early eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century military history, David G. Chandler is a recognized authority in the Marlburian and Napoleonic periods. His other publications include A Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, 1979, Waterloo -- The Hundred Days, 1980, An Atlas of Military Strategy, 1980, and Napoleon's Marshals, (editor), 1987. He has also contributed a chapter to Volume VI of the New Cambridge Modern History as well as numerous articles and reviews to magazines and journals. Chandler lives in Yately, Hampshire, England.
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1) reading this book on any kind of Kindle device is probably not a good idea if you want to be able to read the maps, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the maps when reading this book with the Kindle app on my iPad--the campaign maps are quite clear, and the battle maps are very nice, in three colors (black, white, and red), and all the maps can be enlarged for better viewing. All in all, very legible and nice maps.
2) A previous reviewer mentioned that there was no table of contents in the Kindle version (!), but this has been fixed as well, with links to all of the chapters, subchapters, maps, illustrations, etc. Especially with the search feature, the kindle version is very easy to navigate around.
All in all, an excellent read and a great reference to carry around on your iPad.
I have looked through the Kindle edition and discover/confirm the complaint of other admirers, that the maps are virtually useless. There's no way to scale them up on the computer screen so they are little better than postcard illustrations. That weakness cost the publication one star for the Kindle edition
The book is not something you can sit down and read all the way through even in multiple sittings over the course of a year. It is, however, a book you can and will refer to again and again as you explore the Napoleonic Wars.
Chandler covers Napoleon's early lif, his ascendancy and then his decline both as a strategist and a political leader. He also delves deeply into the colorful and eccentric personalities of the period. There is also an extended treatment of the development of the style of army Napoleon inherited and a discussion of how his predecessors lay the groundwork for his success.
I love the book so much that I have recently purchased the Kindle version so I can have it as a mobile reference for those times I want to escape the current century!
There is no one volume military history of Napoleonic campaigns that can even compare to this. No politics, this is war, and military reforms that affect war. Nothing else. You want to learn about Josephine or the Code Napoleone, you won't find a single word in these 1000 pages about that.
Understanding the military angle, is of prime importance. The fields of Austerlitz are the only reason those other details even MATTER.
The fascinating period of the french revolution had an the impact on modern history and profoundly shaped the man that probably made it survive defending the liberal conception of the constitutions of most countries.
Having said that the book is superb focusing on the art of war showing the master strategies and genius of a supreme commander. The book is fundamental to understand the man and the legend.
* Many maps cover two facing pages and quite often important elements are in the gutter where they cannot be read. Obviously, important things are often near the middles of maps, so why not split the map to allow for the gutter?
* Many names of both places and minor generals are spelled differently in the text and on the maps. I assume the text is accurate, but the variations in spelling caused confusion more than once.
* Oftentimes a town would be named as a destination in the early stages of a campaign, that is, when the relevant maps are still at a large scale. The named, presumably small, town will not be found anywhere on the map. It seems to me that any town important enough to be named in the text should show up on a map that supports the text.
I know full well that this book was published long ago, and I will restate how much this book was a pleasure and contributed greatly to my knowledge of the man and his era. The obvious care in the text and scholarship was lost in this book when it was time to create the maps.
Most recent customer reviews
I will add that Chandler's writing style is top-notch, making the...Read more